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How the Plum Fell, Not Why


by Darryl Price



 

A friend of mine is killing me

With her lies. If I die, it's all

Because of her. A friend of mine

Is killing me with those eyes like

Twin pyramids holding up her

Blue skyline. Look I don't have to

Explain her choice in eyeliner

Graphics. She's made the choice, I made

 

The observation into a

Cartoon strip of my own. A friend

Of mine is killing me with her

Humanitarian aid to

Hungry refugees half a whole

World away. She will wear the same

Sandals she showed me her feet in,

The same hair style she grew older

 

In, the same lisp she introduced

To me her boyfriend in. A friend

Of mine is killing me with her

Hawaiian pronouncement that

Sharks are considered sacred to

The island peoples. If I die

Don't let them kill anything on

My behalf. A friend of mine is,

 

Let's get down to it, not showing

All the love in his heart, who is?

Is it you? A friend of mine is

Killing me by not showing up

To the poetry event, but

Coming into my orbit much

Later looking like someone in

Need of me as a real friend, like

 

Someone with a case of the lamo

Excuse. I sure hope I don't catch

It. I can't afford to be so

boring. I'm sorry. Is that too crunchy

and cruel? Well so is skipping

the heart event aimed directly

at yours. A friend of mine's killing

me. Shit. Shit. Shit. A friend of mine's

 

killing me without fair warning.

A friend of mine is killing me

And I certainly complain I

Guess a lot about it. A friend

Of mine is killing me, one day

You'll be dead, too. A friend of mine

Is killing me — it is easy

To lose faith in whatever's there,

 

Outside the machines. A friend of

Mine stood on a hill and laughed in

My direction because she felt

Superior and to this day

Is still killing me. A friend of

Mine is killing me like LSD slipped

Into my punch. Like the nothing

Taste of astronaut food. Like a

 

Beautiful lemon. Like an art

Band. Like a florescent small town.

Like when the plum fell into the

Child's lacy outstretched hands. Like rain.

Like the unlikeliness of true

Lilies. Like so many shallow

Men selling their souls. Like the light

From a tall window suddenly

 

Gone over. The just a baby

Nude on horseback. Like let's say the

Tax collector in shorts too big

For his legs. Like the glittering

Wet wings of an early morning

Moth. You know the one. Like Chinese

Crackers. Like eyes with a certain

Look, the kind that freeze in mid-air. 




Bonus piece:



Another ZOO Story/from a blog by Darryl Price at the Olentangy Review


for Pat Pujolas

 

A gorilla is a being, a very special being, if I'm not mistaken, an animal 

being, an endangered being that as far as we know is unique to this Earth

 alone. The problem is that a gorilla is not a Human being, therefore he or 

she can be murdered in order to protect the children of humans. Some say, sadly, 

that there was just no way to know how this particular animal was going to

react in the long run to having his environment being invaded by a human child

 

or to being tranquilized by a high-powered dart gun in the process, so naturally a 

violent death was called for by the authorities in charge. We must always show these 

unpredictable creatures who is superior and who is not before they start thinking that they 

might want to live in any kind of real freedom of expression without getting our 

permission first. Sound familiar? Racism, bigotry, Fascism, sexism, species-ism? Let me explain. This morning on 

the TV news I heard a usually somewhat sane lady newscaster saying, “The child must 


always be protected.” Maybe so. I guess. That sounds right. But what bothered me was 

the bluntness of her pronouncement going out over the airwaves like a dictatorial pogrom, and 

there was simply zero compassion in her voice for the poor dead gorilla (who she 

didn't even mention)—who certainly didn't ask for any of this. Did this animal want 

to die? He lived 17 years before he was killed for the mistake of a 

child. How many years have you already lived without having to pay the ultimate price 


for someone else's trespass? Would a bullet in the head make you a better person 

for it? He had a name. He had a home. There were those who cared 

if he lived or he died. He will be missed. Mourned even. All right, so

admittedly it's a great big terrible situation all around, and I'm sure the overwhelmed mother 

feels deservedly awful inside about the whole senseless ordeal that her little wandering off boy 

has caused in the civilized world today, but let me ask you this, did that


particular gorilla have a right to his own particular feelings that day? Will you allow 

that he even had his own set of genuine feelings at the time of the 

awful incident, not just instincts? Are the feelings of a gorilla's life, even a captured 

one, at least important to the gorilla? Was his heart in the right place at 

the wrong time? What's a gorilla to do? What would you do? I'm not asking

Jesus, like those bumper stickers say, I'm asking you. And, believe me, I get it. 


There are no easy answers here. Everybody's a victim here and make no mistake, the 

Zoo, the keepers, the parents, the animals, the public. All the easy answers make me 

feel uneasy, queasy, but we are supposed to be the shepherds, for good or for

bad, of all the creatures around us. We do seem to have a responsibility to

them and for them. They are not just for our amusements. Or are they? I 

guess that's the real question here, just who in the world are we? Do tell. 


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